Late-Inning Drama Tests Mets' Heart

By Klapisch, Bob | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), November 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

Late-Inning Drama Tests Mets' Heart


Klapisch, Bob, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


NEW YORK -- If it felt like the end of the world with every inning, every at-bat -- heck, every pitch -- you weren't far from the truth Sunday night. This was Game 5 of the World Series, where everything big and small had the potential to send the Fall Classic back to Kansas City. Or, perhaps, end a season.

We already knew what was at stake (everything), who was experiencing rapid heartbeat (everyone at Citi Field) and who was staring at a win-or-else mandate (the Mets).

In fact, when Matt Harvey walked off the mound in the ninth inning, proud owner of a 2-1 lead, the sold-out crowd gave him a thundering ovation that bordered on love. The right-hander had held the Royals to just five hits, struck out nine and put the Mets in a position to keep the Series alive for one more game.

But there was a problem brewing on the base paths, as Harvey, having walked Lorenzo Cain to lead off the ninth, allowed Eric Hosmer an opposite-field double that went whistling over Michael Conforto's head, scoring Cain.

Just like that, the Royals had their first run, Harvey had finally cracked, and the Mets, in desperate need of three more outs, called on Jeurys Familia.

This is the same closer who'd already blown save opportunities in Games 1 and 4, yet Terry Collins didn't hesitate to summon Familia one more time. "He's the

best I've got," the manager had said during the Series, handing Familia the ball with an unspoken plea: Rescue us.

Once again Familia failed, although for the second time in two nights it was the Mets' defense that was the real saboteur.

Familia used his signature sinking, two-seam fastball to overpower Mike Moustakas, who barely managed a ground ball to Lucas Duda at first. Hosmer advanced to third while Duda was stepping on the bag, bringing Salvador Perez to the plate.

Here's how the Mets proceeded to break down. Perez, struggling with Familia's sinker just as Moustakas did, tapped a soft grounder to David Wright. The third baseman failed to see Hosmer already a third of the way down the line toward home, and instead fired across the infield to Duda.

The throw arrived in time to retire Perez, but Hosmer, now on a suicide mission, broke for the plate. He was barely halfway there when Duda turned and fired to catcher Travis D'Arnaud.

A good throw would've nailed Hosmer by several steps -- by several yards -- and the game would've ended on a crazy double play. You don't have to imagine how the Citi crowd would have reacted to that. Insanity. Bedlam. A dream kept alive.

Instead, the place went into dead, cold shock as Duda's throw sailed wide past D'Arnaud, allowing Hosmer to score the tying run. …

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